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Jel Classification:D12 

Discussion Paper
Who’s on First? Characteristics of First-Time Homebuyers

In our previous post, we presented a new measure of first-time homebuyers. In this post, we use this improved measure to describe the characteristics of first-time buyers and how those characteristics change over time. Having an accurate assessment of first-time buyers is important given that the aim of many housing policies is to support the transition from renting to owning. A proper assessment of these housing policies requires an understanding of the impact of these policies on the share of first-time buyers and the characteristics of these buyers. Our third post will directly examine ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20190410

Report
Business cycle fluctuations and the distribution of consumption

This paper sheds new light on the interactions between business cycles and the consumption distribution. We use Consumer Expenditure Survey data and a factor model to characterize the cyclical dynamics of the consumption distribution. We first establish that our approach is able to closely match business cycle fluctuations of consumption from the National Account. We then study the responses of the consumption distribution to total factor productivity shocks and economic policy uncertainty shocks. Importantly, we find that the responses of the right tail of the consumption distribution, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 716

Report
What would you do with $500? Spending responses to gains, losses, news, and loans

We use survey questions about spending to investigate features of propensities to consume that are useful for distinguishing between consumption theories. Asking households about their intended spending under various scenarios, we find that 1) responses to unanticipated gains are vastly heterogeneous (either zero or substantially positive), 2) responses to losses are much larger and more widespread than responses to gains, and 3) even those with large responses to gains do not respond to news about future gains. These three findings suggest that limited access to disposable resources is an ...
Staff Reports , Paper 843

Report
Trends in household debt and credit

Since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, consumer financial and borrowing behavior, once considered a relatively quiet little corner of finance, has been of enormously increased interest to policymakers and researchers alike. Prior to the Great Recession, there was a historic run-up in household debt, driven primarily by housing debt, which coincided with a speculative bubble and sharp rises in home prices. Then, as prices began to fall, millions of households began defaulting on their mortgages, unable to keep up with home payments, and greatly contributing to the onset of the deepest ...
Staff Reports , Paper 882

Report
An anatomy of U.S. personal bankruptcy under Chapter 13

We build a structural model of Chapter 13 bankruptcy that captures salient features of personal bankruptcy under Chapter 13. We estimate our model using a novel data set that we construct from bankruptcy court dockets recorded in Delaware in 2001 and 2002. Our estimation results highlight the importance of debtor?s choice of repayment plan length for Chapter 13 outcomes under the restrictions imposed by the bankruptcy law. We use the estimated model to conduct policy experiments to evaluate the impact of more stringent provisions of Chapter 13 that impose additional restrictions on the length ...
Staff Reports , Paper 764

Working Paper
Improving Child Welfare in Middle Income Countries: The Unintended Consequence of a Pro-Homemaker Divorce Law and Wait Time to Divorce

This study identifies the impact of access to and the speed of divorce on the welfare of children in a middle income largely Catholic country. Using difference-in-difference estimation techniques, I compare school enrollment for children of married and cohabiting parent households before and after the legalization of divorce. Implementing pro-homemaker divorce laws increased school enrollment anywhere from 3.4 to 5.5 percentage points, and the effect was particularly salient on secondary school students. I provide evidence that administrative processes influencing the speed of divorce affect ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 27

Working Paper
The dynamics of subprime adjustable-rate mortgage default: a structural estimation

We present a dynamic structural model of subprime adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) borrowers making payment decisions, taking into account possible consequences of different degrees of delinquency from their lenders. We empirically implement the model using unique data sets that contain information on borrowers' mortgage payment history, their broad balance sheets, and lender responses. Our investigation of the factors that drive borrowers' decisions reveals that subprime ARMs are not all alike. For loans originated in 2004 and 2005, the interest rate resets associated with ARMs as well as the ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-2

Working Paper
BORROWER CREDIT ACCESS AND CREDIT PERFORMANCE AFTER LOAN MODIFICATIONS

While the preventive effect of loan modifications on mortgage default has been well-documented, evidence on the broad consequences of modifications has been fairly limited. Based on two unique loan-level data sets with borrower credit profiles, this study reports novel empirical evidence on how homeowners manage their credit before and after receiving modifications. The paper has several main findings. First, loan modifications improve borrowers? overall credit standing and access to credit. Modifications that provide principal reduction, rate reduction, or greater payment relief, as well as ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-26

Working Paper
Owner-Occupancy Fraud and Mortgage Performance

We use a matched credit bureau and mortgage dataset to identify occupancy fraud in residential mortgage originations, that is, borrowers who misrepresented their occupancy status as owner-occupants rather than residential real estate investors. In contrast to previous studies, our dataset allows us to show that – during the housing bubble – such fraud was broad based, appearing in the government-sponsored enterprise market and in loans held on bank portfolios as well, and increases the effective share of investors by 50 percent. We show that a key benefit of investor fraud was obtaining a ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-53

Working Paper
Debt Collection Agencies and the Supply of Consumer Credit

This paper finds that stricter laws regulating third-party debt collection reduce the number of third-party debt collectors, lower the recovery rates on delinquent credit card loans, and lead to a modest decrease in the openings of new revolving lines of credit. Further, stricter third-party debt collection laws are associated with fewer consumer lawsuits against third-party debt collectors but not with a reduction in the overall number of consumer complaints. Overall, stricter third-party debt collection laws appear to restrict access to new revolving credit but have an ambiguous effect on ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-06

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